Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

14/06/2012 - 23/06/2012

Production Details

Failed Assassination Attempts / New Age Strippers / Techno Music / Russian Go-Go Boys  / Corporate Anarchists / AIDS Cocktails / Horny Ghosts / Beautiful Bodies / Abusive Lovers  / Business Execs on the Rampage / Lots and Lots of E…  WELCOME TO HAPPY NATION! 

From the celebrated and controversial writer of ‘Shopping and F*cking’ 

Nick just got out of jail after 15 years locked in and finds his former girlfriend, Helen, buried in a job they both used to despise when they were younger. Tim is sick and spends his time buying new toys on the internet: his latest item is a Russian go-go dancer named Victor. Nadia is a stripper who’s abused by her lover and is in constant search of enlightenment. And Jonathan, who works for the government, is very, very pissed off. 

This is Mark Ravenhill’s most accomplished play, populated with the familiar gallery of criminals, junkies, sex-workers and psychotics who are Ravenhill’s heroes. It delves into the zeitgeist and finds an era where political and personal clash in a slow motion car crash involving AIDS, lap dancing and high ambition. 

Ravenhill said: “Some people may be put off by the sexually explicit nature of the play but when sex is sold to us in so many places today, theatre may be the last place where it can still hold any meaning.” 

With a stellar mix of accomplished and emerging actors – Andrew Ford, Roberto Nascimento, Edward Newborn, Lucy McCammon, Rashmi Pilapitiya & Robert Tripe – Some Explicit Polaroids is directed by New Zealander Phillip C. Gordon.

“There are few stage authors writing more interestingly than Mark Ravenhill . . . He is – it is now yet more evident – a searing, intelligent, disturbing sociologist with a talent for satirical dialogue and a flair for sexual sensationalism” (Financial Times)

Venue: The Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland
Dates: June 14th – 23th  
Times: 8pm
Tickets:  $25 Adults / $20 Concession (Students, Seniors, Actors Equity)
Bookings: 09 361 1000 /   

Content May Offend. Nudity and Strong Language 

Funny, moving, confronting

Review by Michael Stevens 18th Jun 2012

It’s easy to be idealistic and radical when you’re young. What happens when the world ignores all your dreams and coldly moves on? Ravenhill made his name with “Shopping and Fucking” in 1996, this work came out in 1999 and while it’s very well-acted and directed here, the plot shows its age at times. 

Radical anarchist/leftie Nick went to jail in 1984 for badly beating up a rich businessman as a political gesture, inspired by his equally radical girlfriend of the time Helen. Fifteen years later he comes out of jail, and the world has changed. [More


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X-rated but not too sensational

Review by Paul Simei-Barton 18th Jun 2012

Mark Ravenhill exploded on to the international theatre scene in 1996 with the provocatively titled and spectacularly successful Shopping & F******.

The New Zealand premiere of Some Explicit Polaroids finds the playwright in a more reflective mood as he draws a stark contrast between the frenzied anti-Thatcher activism of the mid-1980s and the ecstasy-fuelled “happy world” of London’s fringe culture in the closing years of the 20th century. [More


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Questionable play superbly delivered

Review by Adey Ramsel 17th Jun 2012

Raw, fast and to the point, this NZ premiere of Ravenhill’s one act play is as naked as the stage it plays out on. With nothing to hide behind, not even costume in a couple of places, this cast do well to keep the action well-paced and the quick-witted and bleak dialogue flowing.

Theatre in the round always excites me, it’s something that is simply not done enough here and when it is, invariably it’s pros arch acting with a few ‘turn-a-rounds’ so the people at the back get to see the actor’s face occasionally. This is theatre in the round at its best. Director Phillip C Gordon has achieved a first class production that delivers no matter where you sit. Even the bows, though maybe slightly overdone, illustrate the thought that went in to the audience. 

I think it’s the play itself that bothers me. In short, Nick is released from prison after 15 years. The world he left has gone, to be replaced by one with new values. His old colleagues, who once joined him in the fight against the system, now seem to embrace it. Morals have changed, priorities have turned on their head and everything he once held dear seems now insignificant to others. He finds himself at odds with the life and surrounded by round pegs who now don’t even try to fit their square counterparts. 

That this is the NZ premiere speaks volumes. Sure there’s not many avenues for a one act play to walk down in NZ but the script doesn’t yell out to be produced. It starts off with a hiss and a roar but two thirds of the way along I think it forgets where it was going in the first place. I’m not old-fashioned enough that I want everyone to fall in love and go skipping off into a sunset finale, but at least leave us with something, even if it’s a definite nothing! There’s no ambiguity for any action or any character that we can take away with us. The play simply falters, stops and… stops.

On the production side – ten out of ten. Excellent presentation, superb delivery.

Lucy McCammon is irritating as Nadia and picture-perfect with it. She really is the kind of girl you want to slap but with an aim of knocking a bit of realism and sense into her. McCammon seems to have burrowed into the annoying soul of Nadia and come up trumps with her portrayal. 

Likewise Andrew Ford and Roberto Nascimento, as double-act gay lovers Tim and Victor. Each has found their own take on what could easily be stock characters, and they show a vulnerability by wearing their hearts on their sleeves.

Edward Newborn as Jonathan is a class act. How many acting lessons could you dispense with merely by studying his effortless style? I’m not sure the character gave as much to the actor, though, as the actor gave back to the role he brought to life. 

Rashmi Pilapitiya, as Helen, hovers between determination in her newfound philosophy and hesitancy in whether she is doing the right thing. At times, though, this last trait seems to stem from Pilapitiya herself instead of Helen. Robert Tripe’s Nick is the archetypal fish out of water – always a delight to play – delivering equal measures of confusion, anger, despair and genuine shock at the world he has found himself in. 


Michael Scott June 17th, 2012

*Lucy McCammon (not McGammon) [Thanks Michael - corrected - ED]

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